Oklahoma St. 31, UCLA 20

Friday, September 3rd 2004, 11:44 am
By: News On 6

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) _ Vernand Morency rushed for 261 yards and two touchdowns and Oklahoma State beat UCLA 31-20 Saturday in the season opener for both teams.

With the Cowboys' ground game clicking, Oklahoma State's Donovan Woods threw just eight passes in his college debut. The redshirt freshman completed two passes for 23 yards and ran 15 yards for a score.

OSU, facing UCLA for just the second time and winning for the first, did not have a turnover, but recovered two Bruins' fumbles and intercepted two of Drew Olson's passes.

The Cowboys' veteran offensive line consistently overpowered the Bruins' young defensive front, so Morency often sprinted through gaping holes and was untouched until he was already into the UCLA secondary.

The 5-foot-10, 215-pound junior carried 29 times and scored on runs of 22 yards and 1 yard. Morency topped 200 yards rushing twice after taking over for the injured Tatum Bell late last season, gaining 269 yards against Kansas and 227 against Baylor.

Manuel White carried 20 times for 145 yards for the Bruins, including touchdown runs of 60 and 4 yards.

UCLA's Drew Olson completed 16-of-36 for 252 yards, but went just 4-for-11 for 78 yards in the second half.

Jamie Thompson stopped a late UCLA drive when he intercepted a tipped pass deep in Oklahoma State territory, and Grant Vernon made another interception near midfield in the waning moments.

Oklahoma State held a 28-17 after a busy first half.

In the third quarter, Justin Medlock kicked a 52-yarder for the Bruins, and Jason Ricks made a 35-yarder for the Cowboys.

The Cowboys scored two of their touchdowns after recovering UCLA fumbles, and another after the Bruins' Chris Kluwe shanked a punt that traveled just 25 yards.

Woods scored on a quarterback draw to put the Cowboys up 28-14 with 3:36 left in the half. The TD came after Kluwe's short punt gave OSU the ball at the UCLA 40.

The Bruins got a field goal as the first half ended, with Olson engineering an 80-yard drive that culminated in Medlock's 21-yard kick.

Oklahoma State went up 21-14 on Greg Jones' 13-yard scoring run midway through the second quarter. The drive began after Paul Duren recovered Maurice Drew's fumble at the OSU 19-yard line.

The Bruins led briefly when White scored for the second time in the opening quarter, on a 2-yard run late in the period.

The Cowboys came back to even it 14-14 when Morency bulled over from the 1-yard line early in the second quarter.

Morency scored on his 22-yard run on the Cowboys' first possession of the afternoon. The Bruins took the opening kickoff and were driving, but Craig Bragg fumbled after a reception and Robert Jones recovered to give the Cowboys the ball at their own 37.

In the only previous meeting, UCLA was a 38-24 winner at Stillwater in 2002.